The best way to steer clear from drywall cracks is prevention. However, what can you do if you do end up with cracks in your drywall or ceiling?
Even a well-built home will develop cracks in the wall or the ceiling over time, and it is inevitable. However, you don’t necessarily have to worry about this. Cracks in the wall are a problem that can be easily solved, but you shouldn’t ignore it either. Drywall cracks can lead to other concerns such as the weakening of the (bearing) walls and the structure of the building.
Most wall or ceiling cracks will occur at the seams where two pieces of drywall meet. These cracks often occur around high-stress areas such as windows, door frames and corners. In most cases, you will not see the seams because of the plaster filler and drywall tape used, yet the tension around these seams is where drywall cracks more often occur.
The best way to avoid cracks in drywall is prevention through proper installation. The reason for the cracking of the walls is a possible result of drywall seams that are either not taped properly, or not covered enough with filler. However, what can you do if you do end up dealing with cracks in the wall or ceiling?
If the damage is a relatively large gap – more than an inch and a half – rather than a minor crack, then you may need to replace the entire drywall panel, leading to a bigger repair. Below, we offer the steps for a solution for small cracks, which you can touch up without completely replacing the panel.
What do you need for this task?
Step 1: Preparation
If the crack is near a window or door, tape it off with painter’s tape to protect the surface. After this, use a (utility) knife to cut a v-shaped notch along the length of the crack so you can open it and remove debris from it. Opening the gap even further may seem counterproductive, but it is necessary to remove any leftover debris first.
Step 2: Seal the cracks.
Apply filler over the crack and cover with a strip of drywall tape. Use a putty knife to remove any excess mixture from the tape. Next, spread a second thin coat of filler over the strip, extending an inch or so of grout on each side of the strip. Then, let the mixture dry completely. Depending on the type of filler you are using, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 24 hours to dry.
You can choose to use a prepared joint compound or mix it yourself. If you are not a professional, it is recommended to use grout filler that has already been mixed beforehand. Try to keep the grout layer as thin as possible. That will make it easier to smooth the surface using sandpaper.
Step 3: Sand the surface.
Sand the dried joint compound with medium-coarse sandpaper. Use a sanding block to smooth the surface so that the entire wall is even. You may need to wear a dust mask while sanding to avoid inhaling dust particles. Sand back and forth in a straight motion and under even pressure to avoid uneven patches.
Step 4: Repaint the surface.
Paint over the crack with primer followed by wall paint. Now might be the perfect time to repaint the rest of your interior walls as it will be difficult to achieve a uniform colour if you decide to paint the rest in the future.
Read our previous article “Painting interior walls in 5 easy steps” to learn more about the repainting of your interior. A repaired drywall is the perfect excuse to change the colour of the entire room.